Win-win situation

Win-win situation

The announced six-month pilot to regulate foreign workers (see Friday/Saturday edition) effective January 16 should not go unnoticed by businesses that employ undocumented persons. Only new applicants with proof of a job or those whose employment and/or residence permits have expired past the 90-day “tolerance term” – making them first-time applicants again – will be considered.

The idea is to process these requests within 30 days. It also means non-nationals who must usually await the application’s result in their home country can now do so here, provided they request and get a six-week exemption from the Justice Minister.

Although the programme suffered considerable delay from its originally planned November start, this still regards a unique opportunity to legalise the status of personnel. While one can understand some hesitance among both employers and workers knowing they may have been violating the rules, it should be obvious by now that there is no hidden agenda.

In fact, the initiative even led to parliamentary questions whether government was not rewarding unlawful behaviour in this manner. However, there is an obvious demand for qualified and skilled labour on the Dutch side now being filled by persons for whom no taxes and social premiums are often paid, with all possible consequences.

A conference was recently held on so-called “inclusive immigration” in Curaçao, where the tourism industry’s growth requires more human resources than current legal residents on the island can provide. A similar effort to regulate others gainfully employed is taking place there as well.

Having people already living and working “under the radar” in St. Maarten anyway fully participate in civil society will ultimately not just improve their circumstances but benefit the entire community and prevent exploitation as well as delinquency.

It is clearly a win-win situation.

The Daily Herald

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